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Federal Reserve Internal Survey: ‘Will Beatings Continue Until Morale Improves?’

Posted by Larry Doyle on August 28, 2013 10:16 AM |

The Federal Reserve has to be one of the single most opaque institutions not only in our nation but in the world. I often think of the Fed as having a door in which those inside can see out, but those outside can never see in.

In light of this premise, I am exceptionally surprised to read of a recent survey of Federal Reserve employees that is highlighted by The Huffington Post

Regulators overseeing the nation’s largest financial institutions are distrustful of their bosses, afraid to speak out, and feeling isolated, according to a confidential survey this year of Federal Reserve employees.

The findings from the April survey of roughly 400 employees, presented to Fed staff during multiple meetings in June and July and obtained by The Huffington Post, show a workforce that is demoralized, and an institution where teamwork is nonexistent, innovation and creativity are discouraged and employees feel underutilized.

Obtained by The Huffington Post? That is far different than “provided” to The Huffington Post. Do you get the sense that perhaps a disgruntled employee leaked this survey?

The shaky morale is a legacy of Alan Greenspan’s 19-year term as Fed chairman. From 1987 to 2006, the Greenspan Fed pushed for a hands-off approach by regulators, who then found themselves blamed for the financial crisis that led to the most punishing economic downturn since the Great Depression.

Sounds like Alan was little more than a benevolent despot with an outsized ego. No doubt he was also deeply in bed with the industry.  And Larry Summers — also a charter member of the Outsized Ego Club — is going to change this culture? Really? NOT.

“Supervisors during the Greenspan years were beaten down pretty regularly,” Phil Angelides, former chairman of the congressionally appointed Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, told HuffPost. “It doesn’t surprise me that you would still have some dysfunction, a lack of morale and something less than a highly energized and well-coordinated arm of the Federal Reserve, where for so long the regulators and bank supervisors were held back by the leadership of the Fed.”

This comment by Angelides answers the question posed most recently by regular reader Fred as to whether the Fed is the great facilitator of the Wall Street-Washington Incest. Indeed it is.

Can the blankets covering up our pols, bankers and regulators be pulled back so that the incest can be exorcised and our nation might recover? Don’t hold your breath.

About a third of workers surveyed in the policy unit agreed that it was “safe to speak up and constructively challenge things around here,” documents show.

“That tells me you don’t have the culture of debate and engagement that you need so that questions are asked,” said Angelides.

What do I take from this survey and especially this last component in which only a third of the workers feel it is safe to speak up? Power and money once entrenched are not easily dislodged and the truth takes a back seat to the corruptible status quo.

Navigate accordingly.

I thank the regular reader who brought this story to my attention.

Larry Doyle

Please pre-order a copy of my book, In Bed with Wall Street: The Conspiracy Crippling Our Global Economy, that will be published by Palgrave Macmillan on January 7, 2014.

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I have no business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed are my own. I am a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved. 


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